One of the goodies I got Jen for Christmas was Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Essentials, a two-disc set consisting of Manos: The Hands of Fate and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. The latter film will probably turn into a holiday tradition in our household. It’s Manos I want to talk about here.
That concludes my discussion of this awful film, this awful-out-of-focus-overdubbed-badly-edited-cornball, morimaite-sincahonda, hoom —
Um. It’s pretty bad. The MST3K folks had a field day with it. There’s a reason why this was voted the most popular of their episodes, and why it’s on the Essentials DVD.
Before you rush out and view this film, prepare yourself by reading the Agony Booth’s review of Manos and this Mimosa article, which looks at the experiences of the crew who worked on the film. The poor bastards.
In other MST3K news, my father gave Jennifer Vol. 3 of The MST3K Collection, which contains another batch of short films. This is worth noting because one of them features famed Florida reptile impresario Ross Allen — the Steve Irwin of his time: the Everglades rat snake, Elaphe obsoleta rossalleni, was named after him — chasing down wildlife in the Everglades. None too gently, either: this wouldn’t pass muster today, not by a long shot. And there were two dreary Union Pacific safety films, one on level crossings, the other on workplace safety, both of which taking forever to plod to the point. Yech. Of course, if they weren’t bad, you wouldn’t have wisecracking robots in silhouette there, would you?
Update: Here’s Jen’s take on Manos. Yes, she has a blog now.